The Spanish Mustangs of Blackjack Mountain are comprised of bloodlines originally from Choctaw, Chickasaw Cherokee, Huasteca, Kiowa, Comanche, and other Native American tribes, along with Colonial Spanish horses from Utah and New Mexico. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s (ALBC) Technical Advisor, Dr. Phil Sponenberg has created a conservation breeding plan that categorizes these horses into two main breeding populations:
the "Choctaw strain" and the "Jones strain".
The "Choctaw strain" is composed primarily of horses brought by the Choctaw people on the Trail of Tears. Choctaw horses are the most numerous of the known Native American remnant strains - the ones most endangered
and in need of conservation. They are typically very people oriented, gentle natured and calm, as well as surefooted with excellent feet. This strain can be subdivided into four subgroups:
The "Jones strain" includes horses from Gilbert Jones' breeding which included individuals from North Texas, New Mexico, and Utah, to which was added a good deal of Choctaw and other Native American bloodlines. These horses usually excel at endurance with their tough competitive intelligence. They have excellent feet and are very surefooted.
Gilbert Jones was born in 1906 in Indian Territory and grew up in the Llano Estacado region in the northern panhandle of Texas. Jones began his breeding of Spanish mustangs in 1923. Years later he and his family moved to Oklahoma and in 1958 settled on his Medicine Springs Ranch. He continued to breed and conserve Spanish mustangs until his death in 2000. Bryant Rickman has been a long-time advocate of the Spanish mustang, and since the early 1980s was a close friend of Gilbert Jones. In 1989, Bryant and Darlene Rickman purchased the majority of Jones’ horses and continue to breed them in the same tradition that Jones followed.
Dr. Sponenberg, ALBC Technical Advisor, is a long-time collaborator in the conservation of these horses
with the late Gilbert Jones as well as with Bryant and Darlene Rickman. The ALBC has assisted with cataloguing the horses and obtaining blood samples and hair follicles for DNA testing. With the data accrued on the Rickman herd, Dr. Sponenberg has developed a conservation breeding strategy to
ensure the genetic diversity and the long term survival of the irreplaceable genetics represented in these horses.
Adapted from Blackjack Mountain Rescue Fact Sheet, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC).